It’s time for a change and this is where Michelle Pais, Founder of Signature Realty NJ and CEO of the Michelle Pais Group comes in. “We’re seeing a high amount of people from the city fleeing to New Jersey and it’s people that can afford million-dollar homes. “I’ve never seen a market like this,” she said. Where luxury homes previously sat on the market for years, now they are seeing quicker turnarounds as city people look for big homes with lots of land. Michelle says location is still the key factor in how quickly something sells with towns on train lines, great schools, and with lower taxes proving more desirable, but nothing is a deal-breaker when city residents are ready to spread their wings. It is a seller’s market and Michelle is one of those luxury homeowners who is taking advantage of this, although her reasons for putting her 8,300 square foot Spanish-inspired villa in Morris/Harding Township up for sale go beyond the market. “I bought the home (in 2014) when I was single and now I have a husband and a child. The house has been mine and now I’m ready to have a house that’s ours, something we can design together,” she explains. That’s not to say she doesn’t have special memories from this house, her top being bringing her newborn home the first time, and getting married in the back yard. Those memories will remain with her but she’s ready to build new ones in a new location. For those city people looking for more space to roam or to just find some privacy, this house provides plenty. It sits on nearly three acres of land that sits well back from the road and offers picturesque natural views while the designer lighting, an outdoor speaker system, covered patio, and built-in barbeque make it ideal for entertaining.
Although the house is being sold, she is continuing on with the complete renovation from what she originally purchased. Every aspect of the home has been customized, from the iron glass front door to a floor-to-ceiling slate glass fireplace to radiant heated floors. Her attention to detail and sense of style is reflected in every room with custom millwork, truly unique light fixtures, and modern color palette. She recently finished the remodel of the library which she says is now her favorite room in the house.
It features Chevron floors, dark walls and ceiling, and built-ins with brass accents. The dark background is balanced by large picture windows which let in lots of sunlight. Michelle and her husband work from the space, but she says it is spacious enough to also house a family room. Her next favorite room is the gourmet chef’s kitchen grounded by two 10-foot islands and featuring a subzero glass refrigerator, Viking cooktop, Miele double oven, two dishwashers, and even a breakfast bar ready-made for morning coffee. Five of the seven bedrooms sit on the second floor, including the king-sized master retreat.
Walk through double doors to enter the spacious room that’s capped by a double tray ceiling, and showcases 7-inch wide plank hardwood flooring, oversized windows, and French doors that open onto a private balcony with views of the grounds. A custom dressing room holds a mini-fridge and even a coffee bar so you don’t ever have to leave the master suite when spring welcomes you to sip coffee out on the balcony. Michelle’s last project, now underway, is the basement which will be a playground for adults and children alike with a media room, gym, wine cellar, and game room. Off that space is a 4-car heated garage with a lift to fit a fifth vehicle. An added bonus to this property and what initially appealed to Michelle, is a separate in-law quarters, a 2,000 square foot home connected to the main house by an atrium—perfect for Michelle’s parents. The two stories encompass a kitchen, living room, and master suite on the first floor, and an additional loft space and en-suite on the second accessed by a sweeping staircase.
With the luxury and beauty of this home, it would seem a sale will be imminent, especially with a top realtor at the helm. Being a top realtor has its advantage when putting your own home up for sale, but Michelle is quick to say that nothing about working in the real estate industry is easy. It requires patience, creativity, persistence, and a passion for people, as well as for the work you do. Michelle calls it the hardest career out there. “People think it’s easy but there are 93,000 agents in New Jersey so why should someone pick you? Ten percent of agents do 90% of the business and all you really have is your reputation,” she said. Her reputation has buoyed her, taking her a long way from the 22-year-old who she said knocked on doors using her smile as her business card and personality as her brand.
Michelle’s love of marketing, branding, and luxury homes drove her to the business, and her drive to do whatever it takes to close deals and break sales records have skyrocketed her career and her company. “We’re constantly upping the ante, developing new and unique marketing strategies but always making sure our client feels they are our only client. It’s not just about selling the home, but the experience. At the end of the day, they put their trust in me and I need to deliver,” she said. Michelle is obviously gaining that trust as she boasts a #1 rating in NJ and more than 400 5-star reviews.